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St. Peter and St. Paul Mappowder

Mappowder stands in a commanding position south of the village of Pulham and high above the edge of the Blackmore Vale. For 300 years this was the seat of the Coker family whose 1654 mansion has long since been pulled down to make way for a splendid farmhouse, whose gate posts are the only relics of the earlier building.

The brown stone church of St.Peter and St.Paul is almost entirely late C15 although the chancel is by Slater and Carpenter of 1868. This is a very beautiful church in a lovely setting. The west tower has Somerset tracery in the bell openings. The simple porch and south aisle elevations are embattled and the different decoration of the later chancel elevation is a clever reminder that it was an addition and not a part of the original. Inside, the large plain glass windows allow light to flood into the building. It is a surprise that there is no stained glass and one must assume that Cromwell's men probably smashed what there was.

In the south aisle there is a niche which contains the small (2 ft) C14 recumbent figure of a knight with crossed legs, holding a heart. There appears to be some uncertainty as to the origins of the figure because there is no formal date or inscription. One theory suggests that it represents a boy whose mother dedicated him to the crusades, while another has it that it records the death of a knight in a foreign land whose heart only was brought back for burial here.

The impressive square table font of C12 is of Purbeck marble. Pevsner described the screen under the tower as being 'prettily flamboyant' and looking Victorian. In fact, both it and the reredos are the 1925 work of the Rev. G.A.Coleman and his friend Mr. Ringrose.

This is a church that generously rewards a visit.

The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©

 

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